Alison La Ferlita

OPEN Impact Real Estate

State Department of Education and are tuition-free public schools with private management. In the last nearly 10 years, funding for the schools also includes facility funding to support the costs of private facilities. As a result, the OPEN team has helped clients lease and purchase hundreds of thousands of feet of facility space.

Demand for charter schools has persisted throughout the pandemic with the concentration of admission applications located in the Bronx, upper Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. Many parents in underperforming school districts believe that charter schools can offer them a critical alternative. There are approximately 85 charter schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn out of more than 250 citywide.

Finding permanent, autonomous real estate for charter schools in NYC is not an easy task. Considerations such as proximity to mass transit so that students and staff can get to school easily and inclusion of athletic facilities, like a regulation basketball court and outdoor play space, make site selection complex. Charter schools also add other student-friendly features to their buildings such as acoustically sound music rooms or wider stairways for circulation.

Open Impact Real Estate’s nonprofit practice takes these specific requirements and helps schools pursue build-to-suit deals with developers. There’s nothing readily available, so because of the lack of supply, we’re often working with developers doing ground-up development for the schools, including recent deals for Zeta Charter Schools, Public Prep, Seton Education Partners, and Bold Charter Schools. The benefit is that the schools can create a learning environment from the ground up and build in all the specializations that they want. Ground-up development is also generally lower-risk for charter schools.

TRANSWESTERN is an affiliate of OPEN Impact Real Estate

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